Our Faculty of Authors
We’re so excited for our expanding list of authors. Among them are award-winners, teachers, illustrators, and journalists. Some have written non-fiction, others have written science fiction and fantasy, and others have written for children.
If there is an author you would like to see on the list, please leave us a comment on our contact page.
Jennifer Adams is the author of fifty books. Her bestselling BabyLit board books, illustrated by Alison Oliver, introduce small children to the world of classic literature and have sold almost 2 million copies. Her latest picture books are I Am a Warrior Goddess, How Do I Love Thee?, and Animal Babies Like to Play.
Her titles also include books for adults, including Y is for Yorick, a slightly irreverent look at Shakespeare, and Remarkably Jane, notable quotations on Jane Austen. Jennifer graduated from the University of Washington. She has 20 years’ experience as a book editor, including at Gibbs Smith and Quirk Books. She currently works as a consulting editor for Sounds True, developing their children’s line.
Lindsey Leavitt is the author of over a dozen books for kids, tweens, and teens. She is a former elementary school teacher and present-day writer/mom/speaker/party animal (not to be confused with her spirit animal, which is a lion). A graduate of Brigham Young University, Lindsey uses her teaching background to present to hundreds of schools across the nation. Lindsey lives in a shoe with her many children in the Utah mountains.
Matthew J. Kirby
Matthew J. Kirby is the critically acclaimed and award-winning author of the middle grade novels The Clockwork Three, Icefall, The Lost Kingdom, Infinity Ring Book 5: Cave of Wonders, and The Quantum League series, the Dark Gravity Sequence, and the Assassin’s Creed series, Last Descendants. He was named a Publishers Weekly Flying Start, and won the Edgar Award for Best Juvenile Mystery. He is a school psychologist, and currently lives in Utah with his wife and three step-kids.
Jaime Kirby is this year’s director of First Pages. She is a former food blogger and the author of Celebrate Every Day: Recipes to Make the Most of Special Moments with Your Family (skirt! 2013, as Jaime Richardson), which starred her three kids.
Jaime loves England, puppies, French pastries, and tea parties. She loves classic literature and tried her hand at a historical novel set in 1774 Boston. It is currently on submission.
Emily Wing Smith
Even as a child, Emily Wing Smith had overly thick eyebrows, a passion for writing, and a tendency toward attending odd schools. So it wasn't much of a surprise when she graduated first with a BA in English from Brigham Young University, and later with an MFA in Writing for Children from Vermont College. It's also no real shocker that she spends too much money on eyebrow waxing.
Emily lives with her husband in Salt Lake City, where she writes, bakes chocolate chip cookies, and occasionally substitutes at her old high school (which hasn't gotten any less odd).
Wendy Toliver has lived in Texas, Colorado, and now resides in Utah with her husband and three sons, where they enjoy snowboarding, hiking, and wakeboarding. Her young adult novels include: THE SECRET LIFE OF A TEENAGE SIREN, MISS MATCH, and LIFTED, as well as two best selling companion novels to the popular ABC television series, Once Upon a Time: RED'S UNTOLD TALE and REGINA RISING.
Christian McKay Heidicker
Christian McKay Heidicker reads and writes and drinks tea. Between his demon-hunting cat and his fiddling, red-headed girlfriend, he feels completely protected from evil spirits. Christian is the author of Scary Stories for Young Foxes, Cure for the Common Universe and Attack of the 50 Foot Wallflower. He lives in Salt Lake City, Utah.
Julianne Donaldson grew up as the daughter of a U.S. Air Force fighter pilot. She learned how to ski in the Italian Alps, visited East Berlin before the wall came down, and spent three years living next to a 500-year-old castle. After earning a degree in English, she turned her attention to writing about distant times and places. She lives in Utah with her five children.
Erin Summerill is an award-winning author of the young adult fantasy Ever The Hunted, and Ever the Brave. When she's not writing, Erin is devouring a book, photographing one, or talking to teens about her latest favorite read. Once a high school English teacher, she now teaches at conferences and workshops. Her focus talk on "How to Do Hard Things" empowers middle grade and high school students to face their fears and achieve their goals.
Brodi Ashton is a New York Times Bestselling author and a columnist for the Salt Lake Tribune. She is coauthor, along with Cynthia Hand and Jodi Meadows, of My Plain Jane (which was voted as one of the top 5 YA historical fiction books of 2018 on Goodreads) and My Lady Jane. She is also the author of Diplomatic Immunity, Everneath, which was a VOYA Perfect 10 for 2011; Everbound; and Evertrue; She received a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Utah and a master’s degree in international relations from the London School of Economics. Brodi lives in Utah with her family.
Dustin Hansen, author of Game On! and the Microsaurs series, was raised in rural Utah, where he spent many days hiking red rock canyons that once belonged to the dinosaurs. But even the beautiful mountains couldn’t keep him away from his love of pixels and controllers. He has been writing and creating art for the video game industry for more than two decades. Dustin and his family live in rural Utah once again, where he is the current king of the family Mario Kart circuit.